Search for new principal cost close to $180,000

Board of Governors to vote on final pick tomorrow

In its search for new leadership, the University has spared little expense. Invoices filed to the University by the international headhunting firm Odgers Berndtson for a four-month period between June 2012 and September 2012 total $178,690.

While a little over $71,000 of that money was spent on advertising – the invoices include reimbursements for ad placements in the Economist, the Globe and Mail, and the Times Higher Education, among other publications – the remainder of the money paid for the firm’s consultative services.

Line items include a $12,000 “Executive Brief (Profile of University & Position Profìle).”

Since the invoices – obtained through an Access to Information request, and available on McGilliLeaked – only show expenses until September 2012, it could not be confirmed that this was the total amount spent by the University.

The practice of hiring headhunting firms to help with university upper administration appointments is common. Several Canadian universities have hired Odgers Berndtson, including the University of Calgary and Bishop’s University. In its search for a new president, Concordia University hired external consultants Laverne Smith & Associates.

The search for Principal Heather Munroe-Blum’s replacement will end tomorrow, when the Board of Governors (BoG) is scheduled to vote – in a closed session – on a final list of candidates.

An announcement will be made to the university-wide community, “probably a week or so later,” according to SSMU VP University Affairs Haley Dinel, the only undergraduate sitting on the University’s 14-person advisory committee, tasked with making final recommendations to the BoG about candidates.

Odgers Berndtson did “most of the grunt work,” according to Dinel, including compiling and narrowing the list of candidates in consultation with the advisory committee.

The University’s search has been ongoing since March, when the advisory committee was struck. Its membership, constituted in accordance with the University’s statutes, includes one undergraduate and one post-graduate student, four BoG members, as well as representatives from Senate, the professors’ association, the alumni association, the Secretariat, and support staff.

According to Dinel, the committee has convened twenty times and conducted formal face-to-face interviews with all of the candidates being recommended to the BoG tomorrow.

The process also included a “lengthy consultation process,” Dinel said, referring to the thirty consultation sessions held during the summer, and the email provided to students for feedback.

For confidentiality reasons, Dinel could not confirm how many candidates are up for consideration by the BoG, or whether any of the candidates are from within the University.

According to SSMU President Josh Redel, who will vote tomorrow as the BoG undergraduate student representative, roughly one to three candidates are typically recommended to the BoG from the advisory committee.